eric + junior
El Paso animal shelter

"After you find an animal a home, it’s like a bit of a high. It’s hard knowing that we can’t save them all, but then again, it’s not our fault or the shelter’s fault. A lot of people out there are breeding dogs, and a lot of people that think they can have pets even though they really can’t. Those people end up coming here to surrender their dogs, and someone’s got to be here for them. A lot of dogs come through the shelter, but a lot of these dogs find homes, too. 

Volunteering is relaxing. There’s a lot of other stuff I could be doing with my time, but this is really positive. We take the animals out for walks and train some of them. When visitors come in, we help them find their next family member. I don’t know how most people treat their dogs, but I treat them like family members — like my kids.

At the end of day, I feel like I’ve done something. There are days where I’ll sit at home just wasting the whole day. But on days like this, I know we did something. We got so many dogs homes. 

These dogs depend on us, and they amaze me sometimes. You’ll see the meanest-looking dog in there be so humble. You’ll see little Chihuahuas with so much energy. That’s one of the things we’ll show people when they come in looking for dogs: We’ll tell them, “This dog can do this! This dog can do that!” That way, they know it’s not just going to be a pet to take care of, it’s going to be something to really enjoy. 

I volunteer three times a week. It’s awesome. Just yesterday, there was a couple in here looking to adopt a dog and they kept asking me, “Well, can I see this one? Can I see that one? Can I see this one?” Sometimes you’ll wonder, are they going to adopt or not? But in the end, they do, so it’s all worth it. This little dog or little cat is finding a home. People laugh at me, but when I put an animal back in its cage I say, “You’re going home, Buddy!” The dogs are just awesome— even though they don’t understand what I’m saying, they know that I’ve got their back."